Age and West Hartford

I’ve been thinking about my age lately, and maybe that’s not even the most accurate term to use: age. I think the better word might be: aging. I’m 32 now, and I love being an adult. I would never go back to being a kid for all the money in the world. I love being in (general) control of my life, making my own decisions, etc. But I think with many of my increasing life changes, I am becoming more and more aware that I am indeed aging. I know it is laughable to many people to hear a 32 year old talk about aging, but I am beginning to realize my mortality on a whole new level.

I’ve been pretty aware of my mortality since a pretty young age. Around four, I began to think about and figure out what death was. By my freshman year in high school, I tasted mortality by hearing of a girl who commit suicide. While I did not know her, it weighed on me for a long time. Finally, when I was 21, a 21 year old friend of mine drown in the Niagara River. He was Steve Kszan, a friend I had from Welland, Ontario. Not only was he my age and dead, but he was a really special person to me. As a teen, I was a perfectionist, in terms of what I expected of myself and others. Steve was one of the very few people who just made it okay to be human and fuck up once in awhile. When he died, I narcissistically mourned my own death. I say that, and I want to clarify that I was not consciously mourning my own death, but I became obsessed with how he died. I morbidly tried to picture or imagine what it must have fekt like to drown in that River. For those of you who do not know the River, he drown in the lower river, and the rapids there are so fierce, that if you go in the river, you do not come out alive. I researched the history, geology, and culture of the falls. I read so many books, the informative and the ridiculous. I wrote about it. I visited his grave on a regular basis. I even keep a doorknob he gave me. And again, I really think that I transferred the realization of his mortality onto the realization of my own.

So again, this is not a new concept for me. What’s new is I am a size 8 for the first time in my life. Yes, of course I could go exercise, etc. But my lifestyle change since I moved here, has prompted me to be more sedentary and to eat much worse. Yes, of course, I can and should take some responsibility for this and do something about it. But there are two undeniable parts to this: 1. my metabolism, my notoriously fast metabolism, is slowing down 2. I live in the suburbs.

I have detested the ‘burbs since I was a teen living in them. There is this isolation of the ‘burbs that is like ice. And it means I’ve hit an age — an age when one moves to the ‘burbs. Since I have moved here, I have been trying to like it. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I have started getting the West Hartford News, which I have to say right now is a gossip rag. I’m sorry, but I have absolutely no need to know what is going on it the police blotter. It may be public info, and that is fine, but it should not be published in a newspaper. I suppose there is a good article or two once in awhile, but Cindy Basil Howard’s column is so vapid that I can’t even read it anymore. I began getting the West Hartford News because I wanted to learn more about the local politics. I think I was feeling a bit guilted into it. People always say that local politics affect an individual the most, but I disagree. When leaf day pick up is affects me to some degree, but only in the most insignificant way. Schools and public works are important. This is very true. But Blueback Square — honestly, if the right to an abortion is overturned, that affects me more than a shopping center in West Hartford. Whether or not my country is at war is much more important to me.

I thought about this for awhile, and I recalled that Northampton’s local politics cared about those more global issues. West Hartford is so insular. So far, that is my impression of the entire state of Connecticut. (Remember: being a Catholic means you get to blame your surroundings.) I love living in New England. I believe it is my favorite part of this country, But CT is almost not really New England at all. Yes it has the churches and fall leaves and a bit of snow, but it does not have the New England feel that I love. It has the dour New England feel, the let’s shut up and sweep it under the rug feel. I’d rather live in MA, VT, ME, or even NH, where you can live free or die. Northampton, even though it was in Western Mass, had a mix of this cosmopolitan feel and this small town community feel. God, do I ever miss that!

How does this make me feel like I am again, aside from the fact that my wrists hurt far too much? I feel like I’ve lost goals, like I’m not aiming for anything. I feel like my Connecticutian surroundings are stifling me and making me sedentary. Can I really blame the state? Or do I need to get off my tushy and do something? Okay, I think the answer is obvious. But dear CT, if you can find it in your heart, kick some opportunity in my direction, please. Have a goal roll by like a tumbleweed so I can chase after it.


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